This week, the City began efforts to remove illegal encampments along the Spokane Street corridor from Colorado Avenue South to Airport Way. The approach includes individualized outreach to move people to safer locations, connect them with services and store personal belongings – which has been occurring for weeks – followed by cleanup of garbage and debris left behind, then mitigation to discourage future camping. Since focused outreach began in late August through Tuesday’s efforts, 35 people had accepted alternative shelter.
For the cleanup, the area has been divided into four zones to be addressed separately:
Zone 1: Airport Way to Sixth Avenue
Zone 2: Sixth Avenue to Fourth Avenue
Zone 3: Fourth Avenue to Second Avenue
Zone 4: Second Avenue to Colorado Avenue
While the Navigation Team will continue to conduct outreach along the entire corridor, the closure and cleanup will address one zone at a time, addressing the largest camps first. See more about the tentative schedule here.
Monday, Sept. 11 – Full corridor
As with all encampment removals, the City’s approach began with repeated, personalized outreach, with the City’s Navigation Team offering alternative shelter, services and storage of belongings to all people living unsheltered along the corridor. Over months of conducting repeated outreach in this area, the team has gotten to know many of the people living there and has been working to find solutions that meet their individual needs. During this day of outreach, more people accepted alternative shelter. Since targeted outreach began in August through the end of Monday, 21 people had accepted and been moved to alternative shelter.
Tuesday, Sept. 12 – Zone 4
Outreach – The Navigation Team began outreach at 8:30 a.m., and was later joined by the Union Gospel Mission. While the cleanup efforts on this day focused on the area between Second Avenue and Colorado Avenue (Zone 4), the Navigation Team and UGM worked along the entire corridor, engaging with 56 people over the day. Of those living in Zone 4, 14 people accepted spaces at alternatives including the City’s Navigation Center, the Compass at First Presbyterian 24/7 enhanced shelter, Peter’s Place and UGM shelter.
Storage of belongings – Field coordinators assisted people with storage of belongings. They will collect, inventory, photograph and store personal belongings whether or not the individual is present, unless the items are clearly refuse, hazardous or evidence of a crime. By the end of the day, field coordinators had collected one bicycle and eight bins of items such as clothing and shoes for storage, and will deliver those items to the owner upon request. There were 17 abandoned tents in Zone 4 and three people identified their tents as waste for the crews to collect.
Cleanup – Other City crews and contractors removed all bio-waste, garbage and debris from a zone as soon as campers had moved out of the area. A specialty biohazard cleanup vendor was called in to remediate one location that had a large amount of human waste and deceased rodents.
Fencing – Once the zone was cleared, the City began installing temporary fencing.
Wednesday, Sept. 13 – Zone 2
The day began with field coordinators inspecting Zone 4 to see if anyone had set up camp again. The area remained clear, so crews returned to finish installing fencing.
The Navigation Team, City crews and contractors repeated the outreach, storage, cleanup, fencing process in Zone 2 (Sixth Avenue to Fourth Avenue).
This post will be updated with additional information as the outreach and cleanup efforts proceed.